65% of firms fear a cyber attack in 2013 according to BCI research

A new survey published by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) in association with BSI has revealed that 65% of organizations are extremely concerned or concerned about a cyber attack in 2013. 

The survey also reveals that 71% see the use of the Internet for malicious attacks as a major trend that requires a business continuity response with 42% seeking to manage the prevalence and high adoption of Internet-dependent services, such as the cloud, within their preparedness activities.

The Horizon Scan 2013 Survey Report concludes that the level of concern across sectors and geography over a cyber attack is a major challenge for public policy makers and board rooms. More needs to be done to gain a better understanding of the threat and underlying trends that drive the vulnerability to ensure that a proportionate business continuity approach is in place.

The survey questioned 730 organizations from sectors as diverse as financial services, public administration and defence, retail and manufacturing in 62 countries including USA, UK, India, China, South Africa, Egypt and Brazil.

Further findings from the report, now in its second consecutive year, include:

  • The leading threat of concern in 2013 is unplanned IT and telecom outages with 70% of organizations surveyed stating they were extremely concerned or concerned about this threat in 2013. This was followed in second place by concern over a data breach at 66%.
  • Supply chain disruption and the underlying trend of increasing supply chain complexity figure prominently in the overall results and are lead concerns in the manufacturing and retail sectors.
  • 60% of respondents see the influence of social media as a major trend affecting reputation management and crisis communications, the second highest rated trend in the survey.
  • Investment in business continuity is robust, in spite of difficult economic times, with 22% seeing increased investment in 2013 and 54% stating that investment will be maintained at appropriate levels. 14% expected investment to be cut, thereby limiting the scope or effectiveness of the programme.

Lyndon Bird FBCI, Technical Director at the BCI, commented:

“For the first time, we see a study that brings together short-term threats with the underlying trends that drive disruption. This provides business managers with both an immediate term focus and insight into the longer term needs for capability development.  The dominance of technology and Internet-related threats and trends in this year’s survey mirrors events we have seen in the real world recently with for example PayPal, RIM, O2 and RBS.  The high level of concern over a cyber attack may well be misplaced but it demands a considered independent analysis of the threat to avoid hype and disillusionment and ensure a proportionate response is in place.  The BCI is willing to bring its unique view on disruption and preparedness to the debate”.

Howard Kerr, Chief Executive at BSI, commented:

“This latest report shows that businesses need to be more prepared than ever for every type of risk.  The top 5 threats highlight that the digital age is continuing to bring new challenges to organizations around the world.  In order to counter this, cyber resilience must become part of an organization’s wider business resilience strategy.  Businesses can benefit from an integrated implementation of standards in areas such as business continuity management (ISO/IEC 22301) and information security (ISO/IEC 27001) to identify, prioritise and manage these threats.

BSI is continuing to work with security experts, government bodies and trade associations to develop standards that specifically address risks such as cloud security.”



  • Note to the online survey: respondents were from 62 countries. The total number of responding organizations was 730.
  • A copy of the report is available here
  • To contact the BCI, call Donna Monkhouse on +44 (0) 118 947 8215 or email donna.monkhouse@thebci.org
  • Find out more about Business Continuity during Business Continuity Awareness Week, the global free education event that runs from 18th to 22nd March 2013.  Access experts, free resources and activities, including BC24 the online incident simulation game,  through the portal www.bcaw2013.com